Sledding season opens with Dirty Dog Dryland DerbySubmitted: 11/02/2013

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter

PEARSON - Most pet owners describe dogs as mans best friend, but to a group of sledders, dogs are their companion in competition.

Dogs pulled sled drivers through trails in Pearson Saturday morning. Trainers like Beth Castaldi say it's usually not cold enough to train dogs in the fall.

That's why the dryland races are miles shorter than snow races.

"We keep the mileage down, so we are not over working our dogs," Castaldi said. "So by the time January comes, when we are ready to run the longer races, they've a lot more training miles and they are in better condition."

Most trainers start running with their dogs when they're pups. Then they use ATV's and bicycles to train the dogs when they get older. But Castaldi says they keep a balance so they don't over work the dogs.

"You want to keep that incredible enthusiasm in the dog so that they want to run," Castaldi said. "You don't want them to be muscle sore or you don't want them to be like, oh I ran yesterday, I don't really want to run today, you know that kind of an attitude."

More than 80 teams competed at the Dirty Dog Dryland Derby. The Wisconsin Trailblazers Sled Dog Club will have another dry race in Wausau on November 16th.

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